Home Telecoms & NBN ACCC warns consumers not to fall for NBN scams

Scammers who pretend to be from the NBN Co are duping people out of money, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has warned.

The competition watchdog said its Scamwatch site had received 316 complaints so far about people impersonating NBN Co staff, resulting in about $28,000 being lost.

The three common scams reported were:

  • Signing up victims to fake accounts – scammers would ring victims to "connect" them to the NBN for a low price. They would often demand payment through iTunes gift cards.
  • Gaining remote access to computers – scammers pretending to be from NBN Co would call a victim with claims there were problems with their computer. This ruse was used to gain remote access to the victim’s computer and steal personal information, install malicious software or demand payment to fix "problems" they have discovered.
  • Scammers impersonating NBN Co would call victims to steal valuable personal information like their name, address, Medicare number, or driving licence number. The scammer may tell the victim they’re entitled to a new router, for example, and say they need these personal details to confirm the victim’s identity.

“Scammers are increasingly using trusted government brands like NBN Co to trick people into falling for scams. Their goal is always to either get hold of your money or personal information,” ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard said.

“Australians over 65 are particularly vulnerable to this scam, with fraudsters using phone calls to target their victims.

“NBN Co will never phone you out of the blue to try to sign you up to a service over its network. NBN Co is a wholesaler meaning they don’t sell direct to the public. If you get an unsolicited call like this, it’s a big red flag that you’re dealing with a scammer.”

Rickard said NBN Co would also never call people to remotely "fix" problems with their computers, or to request personal information like Medicare numbers or bank account numbers. 

"Don’t listen to the reasons they give you for needing this information.” she said.

“Finally, if someone ever asks you to pay for a service using iTunes gift cards, it is 100% a scam. Legitimate businesses, especially those like NBN Co, will never ask you to pay for anything in this way.”

Rickard recommended that people keep to the following guidelines:

  • If in doubt about contact from someone saying they’re from NBN Co trying to sell an Internet or phone service, hang up the phone and call your retail service provider to check if the person calling is a fraud.
  • You can only connect to the NBN Co network by purchasing a plan through a phone and Internet service provider. Go to NBN Co’s website to check if your home or business address is able to connect to the NBN network and see which phone and Internet providers are available in your area.
  • Never give personal, credit card or online account details over the phone unless you made the call and the phone number came from a trusted source.
  • Never give an unsolicited caller remote access to your computer.

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the sitecame into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

 

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